Mar 2, 2010

Baseball runs record to 6-0

by Axel CernyAxel Cerny

After three more wins this past weekend the Liberty Flames baseball team is off to a 6-0 start, the best start for Liberty baseball since 1995.

Liberty moved to 6-0 after three more victories over the weekend in the Hughes Brothers Challenge, in Wilmington, N.C. Shortstop Matt Williams, who hit .750 over the weekend, with four runs, three doubles and two RBIs in the three games, emphasized pitching, when asked about the team’s hot start.

“Our pitching has been a real key to our early success. We have a lot of experience and depth on the staff. Having pitching depth has really helped over the first six games and enabled us to get out to this kind of start,” Williams said.

Liberty had been hoping to pick up right where they left off, after sweeping their first three games of the season against Kennesaw State. The first game of the weekend came on Friday afternoon, against the Morehead State Eagles, and the Flames would get that type of pitching that Matt Williams spoke about from senior ace Shawn Teufel. The lefty began the game by tossing six scoreless innings, which were greatly needed, as the Flames didn’t end up finding their own way to the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth, when catcher Nathan Thompson roped a double off the left field wall and ended up coming home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of center fielder Curran Redal.

Morehead center fielder J.D. Ashbrook answered for the Eagles in the top of seventh, with a two-run homer, his second home run of the year. In the bottom of the frame, Thompson got things going for Liberty again, with a two-out solo home run into the parking lot beyond the left field wall. The Flames then tacked on three more runs, on RBI singles from Redal, Tyler Bream and Williams.

The 5-2 margin would end up being the final, as strong relief pitching from senior Carter Browning and closer J.J. McLeod picked up his first save.

Liberty was up early for its second game of the weekend, with the first pitch thrown against Lehigh at 10 a.m. Liberty jumped ahead in the top of the second inning on Saturday. Thompson, designated hitter for the day, singled and was then knocked in by catcher Jerry Neufang’s two-run blast over the center field wall.

As the top of the fourth inning came to a close Liberty knocked in its sixth run of the game on a double off the bat of Williams, who went 4-for-5 on the day.

“It was one of those days where everything I swung at just fell in. I kept swinging and the ball kept dropping,” Williams said.

Lehigh would score one in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the eighth, but it was not enough to hold Liberty from the 6-3 win. The Flames got another very strong outing from starter Keegan Linza, who ran his record to 2-0 on the year, after holding Lehigh to one run on four hits over seven innings of work.

On Sunday, the Liberty offense broke through for a 12-run effort against UNC-Wilmington. Liberty’s offensive leader, Tyler Bream, showed why he was selected as conference player of the week last week with another four-hit day, including his second home run of the season and three RBI’s overall. The final two runs, that put the game at it’s final score of 12-2 came on the first home run of the season for Liberty’s right fielder, Michael Robertson.

Starter Steven Evans went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out four and walking one, to move to 2-0 on the season.

“This year, we seem to have it in every area. We have three strong weekend starters, a deep bullpen and experienced pitchers. We play great defense and that gives the pitcher confidence. Our line-up from top to bottom is good and continues to get the job done,” Evans said.

The Flames home opener is against Delaware State Friday afternoon, but not before they take their 6-0 record on the road once more against VCU this Tuesday afternoon.

Contact Axel Cerny

Printable Version

» Men’s Hockey splits opening weekend series
» There’s no place like home
» Four minutes with Pat
» Flames volleyball dethrones Dukes
» Are athletes or reporters to blame?
» Men’s Soccer misfires in consecutive losses